Walt's Look Around: Port Gibson whispers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Walt's Look Around: Port Gibson whispers

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CLAIBORNE COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's not much at Bruinsburg anymore. Where the town once was is private property now. An old sign growing into a tree is pretty much the only tangible evidence left.

Pretty peaceful considering 150 years ago 17,000 Union troops marched past here on their way to make history. Even the old road they marched down is quiet today. Isolated country.

The first town in Mississippi the Union Army came to was Port Gibson. And the town has plans to commemorate the occasion this weekend, starting with a cemetery tour at Wintergreen Cemetery.  

"We're having Whispers in the Cedars," said Grand Gulf State Park Administrative Assistant CAthi Dodgen. "It begins Friday evening at 5 o'clock. We'll do that again Saturday evening at 5 and 7 and we'll squeeze in an event if there are so many people. Everything begins and ends at City Hall."  

In the cemetery, actors will portray folks buried there. Mike Herron, the Presbyterian Minister takes on the part of a Port Gibson soldier killed in Virginia. Doug Lum is Major General Earl Van Dorn. He'll tell you why he's buried facing south and not east like most folks, among other things.

Vicki Hall is Ruth Brashear Shrive Guthrie. Her grave is here, she's standing by her parents who, along with her brother died within two weeks of each other in a yellow fever epidemic.  

Abigail Fraley is Kate Humphreys Butler, a 16 year old who had to run the plantation after her daddy was taken captive and carried to an Ohio prison camp. 

"Well, I like acting," Abigail admits. "I like putting myself in other people's shoes and trying to imagine how they felt and how they were going through life. And I like wearing this dress."  

"And we also have a special battlefield tour conducted by Col. Parker Hills who is a very noted civil war historian," said Milton Chambliss, the Executive Director of the Claiborne County Economic Development District. "And he will show some of the back roads in Claiborne County where the Vicksburg Campaign actually began."     

"History is very important to this part of the country because this is one of the first areas that was settled by the early settlers back in the 1700s," said Port Gibson Mayor Fred Reeves. "And Port Gibson is about the third oldest community in the state of Mississippi."

Some of the iconic images for the state are in Claiborne County and will be on the tour as the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Vicksburg Campaign kicks off this weekend were it did 150 years ago, in Claiborne County.  

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